South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), the regional human rights organisation observes with great concern the alarming deterioration of the relations between India and Pakistan. Consequently, the cross border firing has now become routine activity. Civilians and soldiers of both the countries are killed in the crossfire. People living on both the side of the border [Line of Control (LoC) or International Border (IB)] are severely affected and suffering immensely: Schools are closed. Unfortunately, at present, even if they want to escape this volatile atmosphere, villagers are unable to leave their villages as the paddy harvesting is nearing. The only source of livelihood of the majority of people in this area is growing basmati rice.
SAHR perceives that the situation has degenerated so much so that common people in the two countries are turning against each other when they see deaths of soldiers and villagers in the border villages. As a result SAHR feels that it is the need of the hour that the civil society of India and Pakistan to come together in intervening to maintain peace and harmony among communities.
SAHR appeals to the governments of India and Pakistan to respect the sanctity of LoC and IB. It also strongly urges both governments to immediately implement the Ceasefire Agreement of 2003 in letter and spirit.
Further, SAHR condemns the use of any country’s territory for terrorist activities anywhere; it urges Director Generals of Military Operations of India and Pakistan to engage with regular channels of communication in order to curb the escalation of cross border firing in Kashmir; and most importantly, it advocates the two governments to resume dialogue at the earliest and work towards peace in the region.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights
Dr. Nimalka Fernando